PATNA: Fissures appeared in the Bihar grand alliance on Tuesday, with the RJD disrupting the question hour in the assembly over the death of children due to acute encephalitis syndrome (AES), but the Congress participating in the move.
The Congress said it was decided during the joint meeting of the two parties that the question hour should not be disturbed to help MLAs raise questions concerning their areas.
Legislators of the Congress did not join the Rashtriya Janata Dal members when they trooped into well of the House to demand the resignation of Health Minister Mangal Pandey over the death of over 150 children in Muzaffarpur and adjoining districts due to AES.
As the House assembled at 11 am for its business, the RJD continued to attack the ruling Janata Dal (United) even after the assembly had a debate on the issue a day ago, in which the health minister and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar spoke.
RJD leader Lalit Yadav demanded the resignation Pandey, holding him responsible for the children deaths Speaker Vijay Choudhary told the Opposition that he had allowed the adjournment motion on the issue on Monday.
"But it seemed that you (Opposition) are adamant on the resignation of the minister by disrupting the House proceedings," he said.
The Opposition MLAs did not pay heed to the speaker's request to let the House carry out its normal business and rushed to the well of the House raising slogans against the health minister.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Shravan Kumar accused the Opposition of disrupting the proceedings of the House to not let the members raise the issues of public importance.
But the commotion continued, following which the speaker suspended proceedings.
"An agreement was reached during the meeting of leaders of the Congress Legislature Party and the RJD on June 28 (Friday) that the question hour will not be disturbed as members raise the issues of public importance," Rajesh Kumar, the Congress chief whip in the assembly, told reporters.
"I am also personally of the view that the question hour should not be disturbed," he said.
"I don't know why, and in which circumstances, the question hour was disrupted." Congress is one of the major constituents of RJD-led grand alliance of five parties in Bihar.
The leaders of the two parties tried to hide the perceived differences, asserting that they continued to be united.
"There are no differences at all. It may be the result of lack of coordination between the allies," the Congress chief whip said.
Senior RJD legislator Bhai Virendra asserted that there was no problem in the alliance and they would sort out each and every issue through better coordination and cohesion on the floor of the House.
"The Congress, the RJD and the grand alliance we all are one and united. I don't know who is saying what," Virendra said.
"Everything has been finalised in the coordination committee today (Tuesday) that we will take a decision in close coordination with each other, be it on the issue of walkout or taking any other issue inside and outside the House," he added.
Not much bonhomie is seen among the grand alliance partners in Bihar after their dismal performance in the general election.
Barring Kishanganj, which was won by the Congress, the Opposition coalition lost the rest of the 39 seats in the state to the National Democratic Alliance.